By Sara Hall | NB Indy
Students from Corona del Mar Middle School will be acting as Santa’s helpers Dec. 8 when they pass out gifts during their annual visit to the Long Beach Veteran’s Hospital.
The visit will also include a brunch and a show performed by the kids. The event is a PTA-sponsored activity, organized and co-chaired by Portia Fischer, Carole Mortimer, and Debbie Schwartz.
“It is a great day of food, entertainment and gift giving,” Kim Sperr, another PTA parent helping with the event, wrote in an email. “It is our hope to provide each veteran with no less than two gifts each.”
The students are collecting donated gifts for approximately 100 veterans, Fischer said. Recommended donations are books, blankets, pajama sets, long sleeve shirts, sweat pants, jackets, sweaters, socks, gloves or baseball caps, all clothing in large or extra large sizes. Sports-themed items are usually good too, Fischer said. Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated, she added.
Organizers are also trying to collect enough money to buy a few portable DVD players, to be taken from room to room at the hospital, in addition to the individual gifts, Sperr wrote.
“For some of (the veterans) it may be the only Christmas gift they get or only visitor they get (all year),” Fischer said. “Some of them really look forward to it.”
The students will do a variety of performances in the show, including singing and playing instruments, and there will be a band and cheerleaders. The children have three rehearsals of the performance before the big day, Fischer said.
“They’re not there just to perform, but to interact,” Fischer said.
The students sit and talk with the veterans while there, listening to stories and learning about their lives, Fisher said.
“It gives the children an opportunity to connect and learn a little bit from someone with an interesting history. … It’s a very moving day for the veterans and for the children, too,” Fischer said.
Some of students are really touched by the veteran’s lives and what they have done, Fischer said. Fischer’s son, who participated in past years, was very impressed with their stories, she said.
“I think that there are very few people that should be honored as much as veterans, because what they’ve contributed to us is so powerful,” Fischer said. “It oftentimes is, unfortunately, forgotten, and we couldn’t live the life we live today without them. I’m forever grateful.”
Gifts can be dropped in the veterans box in the front office at CdM High School. Monetary donations can be given to the front desk. For more information about how to donate contact Nicole Fusaro at nfusaro@nmusd